31/08/2021 - 13:37

Perth to host AFL grand final

31/08/2021 - 13:37

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AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed the grand final will be held at Optus Stadium in Perth as Melbourne's lockdown continues.

The game will be played on September 25.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed the football grand final will be held at Optus Stadium in Perth as Melbourne's lockdown continues.

Mr McLachlan said the Australian Football League considered all possibilities, but it had become clear the game could not be played in front of a crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

That came after 76 COVID-19 cases in Melbourne today.

Mr McLachlan said making the announcement now gave the AFL the clarity and time to give everyone the best grand final experience possible.

“Western Australian footy fans are as passionate as any in the country and the stadium in Perth with a capacity of 60,000 attendants will be an amazing spectacle,” he told reporters this afternoon.

Mr McLachlan said the AFL was determined to play a grand final in front of a crowd and Perth offered a great opportunity.

“We know this government has prioritised the health and safety of its community, it’s made the tough decisions, it’s got tight borders,” he said.

“We feel we are in safe hands but we know there’s a risk and if it happens we will deal with it.”

Mr McLachlan said officials were working on a plan for a grand final parade.

He also let slip that the Brownlow Medal will be held in Perth on September 19.

Mr McLachlan said a time had not been determined yet for the game on September 25, but it would be played later than the traditional 2:30 AEST timeslot.  

WA Premier Mark McGowan said now that the decision had been made, it was up to WA to do the event justice.

"An AFL grand final in Perth will be absolutely incredible; a once-in-a-lifetime event that Western Australians will remember for generations to come,” he said.

"WA is in a strong position at the moment but the risk of COVID creeping into the WA community is not lost on any of us.

"Safety is my top priority and hosting the AFL grand final here is a nod to the efforts of all Western Australians who have done the right thing, which has protected what we've built.

"It is also an opportunity for us to show what Perth has to offer as a destination, with major economic benefits, with people from regional WA and 'very low risk' jurisdictions expected to fill our CBD hotels."

Last Wednesday, Mr McLachlan announced the grand final would be held in Perth if it could not be held at the MCG in Melbourne.

The MCG has a contract with the AFL which requires all grand finals be played at the MCG until 2058.

It will be the second time in the competition's 124-year history that a grand final has been held outside Victoria.

Victorian Sport Minister Martin Pakula said the AFL had brokered a new deal with the MCG, extending the arrangement by a year.

The big game will be played at the stadium until 2059, as well as eight AFL premiership matches over the next five seasons, four AFLW premiership matches in regional Victoria and the 2022 and 2023 AFL drafts.

Geelong and GWS will play in a semi-final at Optus Stadium on Friday.

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